A timeline of India’s tryst with moon exploration | India News


India has a long and rich history of space exploration, with a focus on low-cost, high-impact missions, specifically to the moon.
But isn’t going to the moon “old news?”
After all, American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon in 1969; more than 50 years ago.
Why is going to the moon still relevant? And what will it mean for India? These are the core questions.

Ancient cultures and the moon

Moon exploration is not just old news, but very old news. Humans have been studying the moon for centuries now. In fact, it was ancient cultures that made some insightful observations about it.
Ancient Egyptians believed the moon was a divine being, having the power to influence weather, tides and even human behavior.
The Mayans linked the moon with fertility and agriculture.
The moon was thought to be made of an incorruptible substance by the ancient Greeks.
They called it “lunar material,” and they believed it was what gave the moon its dazzling aspect.
The ancient Chinese, like the Egyptians, also thought the moon was formed of jade and was in charge of regulating water tides.

What makes India’s moon missions so significant?

Moon exploration
Fast forward 10-15 centuries.
USA’s NASA launched Apollo 11 in 1969. It was the first manned lunar mission. Neil Armstrong made the first human steps on the moon, ushering in a new age of lunar research.
The importance of visiting the moon can be attributed to many factors. As the sole naturally occurring satellite of the Earth, the moon is a great place to research the formation of the solar system, the makeup of the moon’s interior, and the effects of the moon’s gravity on Earth.
The moon is also a potential resource for humankind. It contains minerals and other materials that could be useful for development. The moon’s environment could also be used to foster new technology that could be used in navigation, communication and transportation.
Like our ancestors, the moon still has cultural and religious importance for humans around the world, just as it did for our ancestors.
Hindu god Chandra is a representation of calmness, tranquility, and purity. The lunar phases and cycles of time dictate our activities. The moon is also connected with god Krishna who is depicted holding the crescent moon on his head.
What has India done in moon exploration?
India’s first moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in October 2008 with the goal of studying the lunar surface and looking for evidence of water.
The mission was a major success for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), as it discovered the presence of water molecules on the moon.
In addition to this, ISRO deployed the Moon Impact Probe, which landed on the moon’s surface and collected data on the composition and density.
Chandrayaan-1’s success inspired ISRO to launch a number of other lunar missions, notably Chandrayaan-2, which launched in July 2019.
Since Chandrayaan-2 had a lander, rover, and orbiter, it was a more ambitious mission.
The Pragyan rover was created to investigate the lunar surface and carry out various scientific experiments, while the Vikram lander was planned to settle on the south pole zone of the moon.
Unfortunately, the Chandrayaan-2 mission failed when the Vikram lander lost communication with mission control just minutes before its planned landing.
Despite this setback, the mission was still considered a success, as the orbiter was able to gather a wealth of data on the moon’s surface and atmosphere.
ISRO space exploration
In addition to its lunar missions, India has also conducted a number of other space missions, including the launch of its first satellite, Aryabhat, in 1975.
Since then, other satellites have been launched by the nation for a range of uses, including communication, navigation, and earth observation.
ISRO is working on Gaganyaan, which will send Indian astronauts into space.
One of India’s most notable space achievements was the successful launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in 2014.
The MOM spacecraft, also known as Mangalyaan, was India’s first interplanetary mission and was designed to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars.
India became the 4th nation after the United States, the Soviet Union, and the European Space Agency to successfully reach Mars thanks to the mission’s great success.
India’s space program has come a long way in a short time, and the country is now considered a major player in the global space community. The nation is in an especially unique position to make important global contributions to space exploration in the years to come with an emphasis on low-cost, high-impact missions and a dedication to pursuing cutting-edge research.

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